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Student-led campaign promotes distraction-free summer driving

What can happen in four seconds? Most of us would answer: not much. But four seconds is approximately the minimum amount of time the average distracted driver looks away from the road when reading or composing a text message. Four seconds isn’t enough time to do much generally, but it is enough time to kill yourself or someone if you drive while distracted.

This is one of the messages a group of students is trying to spread around the country in the “TextLess Live More” campaign. The initiative is inspired by the memory of a young woman who was killed by a distracted driver who looked away from the road for just four seconds.

The fatal car accident occurred last summer. The young woman was a recent high school graduate who decided to ride her bicycle from the East Coast all the way to Santa Monica. She made it only as far as Arkansas. While riding down a rural road with six other bicyclists, she was struck by a 21-year-old driver who was looking at his phone. She suffered severe injuries and died a short while later.

The TextLess Live More campaign has managed to spread its message to schools around the country, including here in California. On July third, the one-year anniversary of the woman’s death, a public service announcement on the dangers of distracted driving will be broadcast on televisions around the country.

A 2011 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that 31 percent of respondents admit to sending or reading text messages and emails while driving. Nearly 70 percent admit to talking on a cellphone while behind the wheel. Even if you feel you can handle distracted driving safely, can you really afford to take that chance?

Source: Fox News, “TextLess Live More: Teen's death from distracted driver inspires new ‘text less’ campaign,” Loren Grush, June 26, 2014

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